See other weird comics stories here!
Story One: The Strange Affair of The Sniffer
Story Two: Comics and Dreams
Story Three: Why Superhero Comics Bite
Story Four: Goony and Phil Motion Comic
Story Five: Who is The Crimebuster?
Story Six: What is the Future of Motion Comics?
Story Seven: What was the original cast of the Watchmen in 1986?
The Sniffer and Archie Andrews
I tirelessly probe the universe of comics, searching for the strange, the remarkable, and the combination of story and art that move the artform towards perfection. No comic can be ignored (except for a couple from Marvel and DC) because of the potential they hold.
It was a Spring night when I'd been perusing comics. I was reading a series published by Lev Gleason and I discovered a character who behaved in a puzzling manner. This character's name was "The Sniffer".
The Sniffer was a minor character; he was a sidekick to "Iron Jaw", a villain who'd been pestering heroes all over the Lev Gleason books. Iron Jaw himself was a National Socialist. He'd gotten his jaw blown off in 1917 as he was helping a young corporal backstab his way to the top of the German Worker's Party. The corporal (known back then as "Schickelgruber") left the man for dead. Little did Schickelgruber know that the man he thought was dead had lived, and had his jaws replaced with a senseless iron rasp of great power. Here's a scene from Adolf Hitler's life in 1933:
Okay so Iron Jaw decided to have Hitler give him a job as an enemy agent. Iron Jaw hated America and its freedoms (wow, what else is new) and moved to this great land so he could sabotage its war effort. Like I said, he fought many American heroes in the Lev Gleason universe who were smart enough to see through his plans.
Unfortunately for Hitler, the National Socialist Party, and Iron Jaw, Germany formally surrendered to America in 1945, but Iron Jaw decided to stay in America as a crook and make himself rich. Here's where the story gets weird.
As a crime boss, one needs a staff of sturdy men to take care of the small stuff. Among the men that Iron Jaw hired was a dude who called himself "The Sniffer"
Lore says that this man who was hired by Iron Jaw called himself "The Sniffer" because he had an extraordinarily good sense of smell. Better than a bloodhound's, apparently. He could track people across distances through their scent, which isn't bad I suppose.
So in the thumbnail above, we see that The Sniffer has gray hair and likes green jackets. When he began working with National Socialist turned crime boss Iron Jaw in a back-up feature called "The Sniffer and Iron Jaw", he had the look we see here in this vignette from the year of our Lord 1954:
Note the orange hair, distinctive checkerboard styling on the nape of his neck, and the green vest. I don't know about you, but this kind of reminded me of a different comic book character.
Oops, sorry, that was a panel from "Starchie", a parody from Mad magazine in 1954. Here's who I really meant to show:
Note the distinctive hair coloring and the checker marks on the back of his neck. It seems to me like this was something of a Fearless Fosdick thing going on here (except Al Capp was much more of a documented scumbag and asshole than Charles Biro). But why, then, was it so important for Charles Biro to mess with the publishers of Archie Comics?
I live in an imaginary world, so here's what I think. A lot of Charles Biro comics had the word "Crime" on the cover, which meant, thanks to the idiotic Comics Code, that they could no longer be published because seeing the words "Crime" on a cover would encourage young men towards a life of delinquency. Maybe he was miffed because nothing happened to Archie Comics.
But then I did some digging and I found out that one of the dudes who created Archie Andrews, Bob Montana, used to be an assistant to Bob Wood who, along with Charles Biro, did comics called "Crime does Not Pay". This all happened before Bob Wood went crazy and killed a hooker. Check it out!
So there you have it. It was a Fearless Fosdick thing happening all along. Considering the pile of shit that Archie comics has turned into as of late, I'm glad that they had the balls in 1954 to have a fat, middle-aged Archie Andrews helping an unrepentant Nazi commit crimes.